The Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon, approved in 1976 CARITAS Lebanon as the official socio-pastoral arm of the Church. Since then, Caritas Lebanon is a member of Caritas Internationalis –ONE OF THE LARGEST HUMANITARIAN NETWORKS IN THE WORLD- 165 Catholic organizations in 200 different countries. Caritas (Latin word meaning Charity) was founded by Lorenz Werthmann in Freiburg, Germany in 1897.
In 1972, and in response to the needs of the people, Brother Elie Mamery, the Lebanese Jesuit monasticism, established Caritas in Sidon city -Southern of Lebanon – in coordination and support of the local bishops. In the beginning, CARITAS mission, was dedicated to emergency aid imposed by circumstances, medicines and new clothes were distributed to needy families in the border villages.
In 1973 caritas expanded its mission in social and medical work, social centers and clinics were opened, and also mobile clinic covered 65 towns. The need increased with the outbreak of the civil war and the displacement of many Lebanese in 1974.
In 1976 Caritas Lebanon became officially a socio-pastoral of the church. And since then, CARITAS extended its service to all Lebanese regions. The 1st achievements of the 1st year of CARITAS Lebanon, was the social and development needs and a request to abroad have been submitted to finance 20 projects with an estimated cost about 3 million Lebanese lira (pounds) And after over one decades of its existence CARITAS succeeded in securing the organizational ground and in strengthening cooperation with regions and centers internally, and establishing a network of communication externally with CARITAS Internationalis, one of the largest humanitarian networks in the world, 165 Catholic organization in 200 different countries, and also cooperating with organizations and supporting bodies. CARITAS Lebanon is serving in 35 regional sectors, 10 Primary Health care center, 9 mobile medical units, 4 Community centers, and in 4 Humanitarian Centers.
In 2021, and until September 30, CARITAS Lebanon has provided social services for more than 746,473 beneficiaries of all ages on various Lebanese territories groups, according to needs, through several activities: WFP, Family to Family, Build Back Beirut Consortium, EA21/2020 Beirut Blast Response, BMZ, GOIB, UNFPA, COPE, PHCC Saida IMC 20-21, Child, DCV, RHEP, UNHCR, Beth Aleph, Educational Trust, U-Feed, DART, BAHIA, Hand in Hand, GIZ Caritas spent 29,835,643 million dollars in the year 2021 through its programs. Caritas works consistently with its members and volunteers to serve the poor, vulnerable and the excluded regardless of race and religion Over five decades of its existence, Caritas has honored its commitment and pledge to the needy:
“I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave something to drink, I was stranger and you invited me in, I was sick and you looked after me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was in prison and you visited me”(Matthew 25)